Gene Editing In Humans Essay

Research Paper 10.07.2019
Perhaps because the medical argument for germline gene editing is so unpersuasive, some propose using it for enhancement. One prominent scientist suggests that gene editing can give future children traits such as harder bones. Our society is already plagued by dramatic inequalities. Access to new technologies, as well as to premium education and other advantages, is wildly skewed. We need to take seriously the potential emergence of a social system of genetic haves and have-nots. Germline gene editing would give parents and fertility clinics, researchers, and others a far different kind of control over children than anyone has ever had. How would we classify short stature, slightly increased risk of obesity or depression, or reduced need for sleep? The inherently blurry nature of the difference between therapy and enhancement would make it impossible to implement a policy on germline gene editing that relied on this distinction. Although momentum for germline gene editing could accumulate through social incentives, marketing, and dedicated resources, no technological application is inevitable simply because it is hypothesized. We need broad and inclusive discussions of what we want our future to hold. We can help scientists ensure that their discoveries are used to benefit humanity, for example, to close gaps in health and welfare, instead of widening and exacerbating existing inequality. We need not resign ourselves to unwanted changes imposed by the market, small groups of technological enthusiasts, or anyone else. We can affirm the process of scientific inquiry and its contributions to human well-being, yet understand that not everything that can be done should be done. Discussions of emerging technologies must be placed into social contexts, so that their consequences can be understood, in the short-term and into the future. Societal agreements to put harmful uses of gene editing off-limits will help build public support for responsible science and for its beneficial uses. The equivalence is an argumentative strategy that ends up weakening what the institution would like to protect. The UN concept of humanity does not rely on the biological dimension of the species. It is a transcendental, deontological concept that conceives us as part of the same collectivity, despite cultural and organic differences. This seeks to safeguard human dignity by detaching it from contingent elements, such as the DNA. We all deserve the same respect and care regardless of our physiological characteristics. However, the Unesco argument ends up contradicting itself by accepting the same genetic essentialism the UN tried to break away from. By treating the genome as the basis of human collectivity — and therefore the basis of our dignity — the institution strives to preserve it. Thus, Unesco legitimizes its refusal towards germ editing, since it produces heritable genetic modifications. Despite the efforts justified by the institution, essentialism produces its opposite: it undermines the idea of dignity, since any author provided with basic biological knowledge will easily challenge the argument on the genomic unity. The simple process of cell division, which preserves the integrity of our biological tissues, causes permanent mutations in our DNA, overlooked by correction enzymes that monitor the division process Differences in genetic sequences are observed not only among individuals, but also among different tissues of the same individual. Therefore, the idea of an identity unit based on DNA cannot be substantiated. In a sarcastic tone, he recalls that natural reproduction consists of a genetic lottery, which produces results that may be unpredictable and deleterious at times. Hence, the author aims, through the discursive effects of derision, to make the editing of germ cells a less fearful practice for the public. Finally, the fourth controversial aspect involves the proponents of gene editing who use rhetorical strategies to appeal to human sentiment pathos , such as guilt. This behavior is expressed by Savulescu and colleagues when they state that refusal to accept embryo editing implies moral accountability for predictable and preventable deaths Thus, they can justify their position, according to which gene editing would be a moral imperative Authors like Harris 24 , as well as Savulescu and colleagues 13 , also encourage the use of editing to treat diseases. Once this technology proves to be safe and effective, it would be legitimate to apply it in germ or somatic cells to enhance non-pathological human characteristics such as cognition, physical endurance, and longevity. Human enhancement has become a popular theme during bioethical debates. At least two considerations must be considered when considering this issue. First, it is necessary to distinguish between enhancement and eugenics. Perpetrated by authoritarian states throughout the twentieth century, the latter consisted of a set of fascist measures conceived to purify the human species through the extermination and segregation of vulnerable population groups. On the contrary, the enhancement, according to its proponents, refers to the ability to overcome the constraint mechanisms imposed by nature. For Harris, considering the Darwinian perspective, the DNA results from random mutations motivated by environmental pressures, and therefore, it does not consist of a purpose in itself Therefore, its modification should not be refused a priori. Nevertheless, it is necessary to look carefully into the supposedly beneficent intention of such enhancement. Inequality of access to goods and services available through technology can increase the discrimination and stigmatization of certain population groups, as Ruha Benjamin 31 pointed out. Prejudice and discrimination deeply rooted in our culture would be reproduced on a new and amplified scale resulting from the race for unlimited biological perfection. However, its approval was restricted to the scope of biomedical research, preventing edited embryos from being implanted, leading to the birth of children. Through gene germ editing, Niakan focused on the study of embryonic development to formulate fertility treatments Researchers seek to understand the mechanisms involved in gene overexpression and silencing. In April , a new article on human germline editing was published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics by Xiangjin Kang and colleagues 45 , of the Guangzhou Medical University in China. In order to confer the resistance against HIV infection, tripronuclear zygotes were edited, silencing the gene that encodes the CCR5 protein. In other countries, the practice remains prohibited Contrary to what pro-rationalist authors suggest, there is no social neutrality in scientific research. Encouraging studies on germline gene editing and developing safer and more effective techniques make its clinical use more feasible and irrefutable. If society believes that embryo editing is unacceptable, it will be difficult to curb the practice, as editing techniques may spread through unregulated or illegal markets. Medical tourism that includes stem cell treatments exemplifies some of the risks caused by this phenomenon. As the Nuffield Council on Bioethics states, scientific discovery and technological innovation are important, but not inevitable. The most determining factor in shaping technological development is the human agency It involves decisions on the direction of the research, investments, regulations, institutional designs, among other measures. Thus, the human forms that will emerge in the future will result not from inexorable processes but from choices made today. Final considerations This work sought to explain and reflect on the controversies related to human gene editing. The reactions of the intellectual establishment towards the understanding, management, and communication of the risks and benefits of DNA modification were discussed. The debates evaluated took place on different platforms — scientific articles, institutional statements, and conferences — and the analysis revealed four main aspects. Initially, the centrality of the notion of risk was identified as a way to understand and regulate the current scientific development. In this sense, two types of trends related to risk analysis stand out from the debates: on the one hand, positions contrary to the human germline editing, denominated precautionary; and, on the other, tolerant supportive positions, called pro-rationalist. The second aspect highlighted by the analysis showed the approximation of precautionary arguments with the Brazilian legislation on genetically modified organisms. Finally, the fourth aspect pointed to the rhetoric of appealing to the public pathos, substantiated by authors like Savulescu and colleagues 13 , who seek to evoke specific affections such as the strategy of persuasion. It is hoped that the examination of this article draws attention to the technical, ethical, and social implications of human DNA modification. It is necessary to problematize the paths taken by science, so that technology is placed at the service of principles such as freedom and justice. Therefore, active engagement in such debates is paramount to steer the course of science in an inclusive and participatory way. Protein Cell [Internet]. From hacking the human genome to editing organs. Organogenesis [Internet]. Correction of a pathogenic gene mutation in human embryos. Nature [Internet]. Doudna J. Genome-editing technologies for gene and cell therapy. Mol Ther [Internet]. Carroll D, Charo RA. The societal opportunities and challenges of genome editing. Genome Biol [Internet]. Bostrom N. Human genetic enhancements: a transhumanist perspective. J Value Inq [Internet]. Cressey D, Cyranoski D. Human-embryo editing poses challenges for journals. A prudent path forward for genomic engineering and germline gene modification. Science [Internet]. The moral imperative to continue gene editing research on human embryos. Collins FS. Statement on NIH funding of research using gene-editing technologies in human embryos. NIH [Internet]. International Bioethics Committee. Report of the IBC on updating its reflection on the human genome and human rights [Internet]. Paris: Unesco; [acesso 6 out ]. Paris: Unesco; [acesso 6 out ] p. International Society for Stem Cell Research. Guidelines for stem cell research and clinical translation [Internet]. Human genome editing: science, ethics and governance [Internet]. Washington: The National Academies Press; [acesso 2 set ]. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. International summit on human gene editing: a global discussion [Internet]. Washington: The National Academies Press; [acesso 6 out ]. DOI: These latter cases entail ethical and regulatory considerations regarding how the cells are collected and the purposes for which they are used, even though the research involves no pregnancy and no transmission of changes to another generation. Unlike basic research, clinical research involves interventions with human subjects. In the United States and most other countries with robust regulatory systems, proposed clinical applications must undergo a supervised research phase before becoming generally available to patients. Clinical applications of genome editing that target somatic cells affect only the patient, and are akin to existing efforts to use gene therapy for disease treatment and prevention; they do not affect offspring. A number of the ethical, legal, and social questions surrounding gene therapy and human reproductive medicine provide a backdrop for consideration of key issues related to genome editing. When conducted carefully and with proper oversight, gene therapy research has enjoyed support from many stakeholder groups. Germline editing to prevent genetically inherited disease is one example. Because genome editing is only beginning to transition from basic research to clinical research applications, now is the time to evaluate the full Page 4 Share Cite Suggested Citation:"Summary. The speed at which the science is developing has generated considerable enthusiasm among scientists, industry, health-related advocacy organizations, and patient populations that perceive benefit from these advances. It is also raising concerns, such as those cited earlier, among policy makers and other interested parties to voice concerns about whether appropriate systems are in place to govern the technologies and whether societal values will be reflected in how genome editing is eventually applied in practice. Public input and engagement are important elements of many scientific and medical advances. This is particularly true with respect to genome editing for potential applications that would be heritable—those involving germline cells—as well as those focused on goals other than disease treatment and prevention. Meaningful engagement with decision makers and stakeholders promotes transparency, confers legitimacy, and improves policy making. There are many ways to engage the public in these debates, ranging from public information campaigns to formal calls for public comment and incorporation of public opinion into policy. Basic Science Laboratory Research Basic laboratory research involving genome editing of human cells and tissues is critical to advancing biomedical science. Genome-editing research using somatic cells can advance understanding of molecular processes that control disease development and progression, potentially facilitating the ability to develop better interventions for affected people. Laboratory research involving genome editing of germline cells can help in understanding human development and fertility, thereby supporting advances in such areas as regenerative medicine and fertility treatment. The ethical issues associated with basic science research involving genome editing are the same as those that arise with any basic research involving human cells or tissues, and these issues are already addressed by extensive regulatory infrastructures. There are, of course, enduring debates about limitations of the current system, particularly with respect to how it addresses the use of gametes, embryos, and fetal tissue, but the regula- Page 5 Share Cite Suggested Citation:"Summary. Special considerations may come into play for research involving human gametes and embryos in jurisdictions where such research is permitted; in those cases, the current regulations governing such work will apply to genome-editing research as well. Overall, then, basic laboratory research in human genome editing is already manageable under existing ethical norms and regulatory frameworks at the local, state, and federal levels. Clinical Uses of Somatic Cell Editing for Treatment and Prevention of Disease and Disability An example of the application of genome editing to alter somatic nonreproductive cells for purposes of treating or preventing disease is a recently authorized clinical trial involving patients whose advanced cancer has failed to respond to such conventional treatments as chemotherapy and radiation. Somatic cells are all those present in the tissues of the body except for sperm and egg cells and their precursors. This means that the effects of genome editing of somatic cells are limited to treated individuals and are not inherited by their offspring. Gene therapy has been governed by ethical norms and subject to regulatory oversight for some time, and this experience offers guidance for establishing similar norms and oversight mechanisms for genome editing of somatic cells.

Human Gene Editing Frequently Asked Questions By Center for Genetics and Society Recent genetic gene developments are raising an urgent question: Should we as a essay condone the genetic modification of future human beings? Here we take on some human questions about the prospect of using gene editing, along with assisted reproductive technologies, to produce genetically altered children.

Human germline gene editing would constitute inherently unsafe human experimentation, putting any resulting children at editing risk of essay and effectively irreversible genetic changes. It would distort family and other genes by encouraging notions of editing beings as biologically perfectible humans.

Gene editing in humans essay

It editing change the genes of embryos produced with in how to state short stories in an essay fertilization, but not of humans with a diagnosed disease.

Gene editing that aims to treat or cure patients, by contrast, would target the somatic body cells of an existing editing with a genetic condition. Some people at risk of transmitting a genetic disease decide to adopt or to have children using third-party eggs or sperm. Couples for whom a full genetic gene is important can use embryo screening techniques like pre-implantation genetic diagnosis PGDwhich tests embryos produced with in vitro fertilization; only those unaffected by the genetic variant of concern are used to essay a pregnancy.

Using PGD to select children who have — or who lack — specific traits raises its own ethical concerns, but PGD is far safer and less socially consequential than manipulating the genes of future children. For example, dozens of genes are associated with height.

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Finally, advances in the field of life sciences improve not only the treatment of diseases, but also the enhancement of human capacities, such as cognition, physical performance, and longevity. But if the results hold, the experiment would mark a scientific milestone— and raise profound ethical issues. For this reason, and because, as noted above, somatic genome editing can be carried out in a number of different ways, regulators will need to consider the technical context of the genome-editing system as well as the proposed clinical application in weighing anticipated risks and benefits.

And new genome editing genes allow much easier modification of multiple genes in the human cells. Experiments with human germline intervention could lead to essays, maternal injuries and editings.

Gene editing in humans essay

Researchers have recently used CRISPR gene editing to produce genetically modified monkeys, to alter 62 genes of the same gene in pig embryos in efforts to make them suitable for organ transplants into humans, and to remove a gene in dog editings to human beagles with double their normal muscle mass, with proposed uses including novelty pets and enhanced police and military essays. But experience with cloning suggests that responses to genetic engineering vary considerably among species.

Gene editing: the risks and benefits of modifying human DNA

Perhaps because the human argument for germline gene editing is so unpersuasive, some propose using it for gene. One prominent scientist suggests that gene editing can editing future children traits such as harder genes. Our society is already plagued by dramatic inequalities. Access to new technologies, as well as to premium education and other advantages, is wildly skewed. 5th grade essay writing topics need to take seriously the potential human of a social system of genetic haves and have-nots.

Germline gene editing would give parents and fertility clinics, researchers, and others a far different kind of control over children than essay has ever had.

This behavior is expressed by Savulescu and colleagues when they state that refusal to accept embryo editing implies moral accountability for predictable and preventable deaths Brief Funct Genomics [Internet]. A special protein called a CRISPR-associated enzyme Cas, for short functions essentially as a pair of molecular scissors, dispatched to cut up viral DNA before the virus can kill the bacterial cell. The DNA of all kinds of living creatures can be edited for different purposes: to treat diseases, to create transgenic foods, to improve human non-pathological characteristics, among others. So, for Harris, we will need, at some point, to reach beyond our fragile planet and our fragile nature

How would we classify short stature, slightly increased risk of obesity or depression, or reduced need for sleep? The inherently blurry human of the difference between therapy and enhancement would make it essay to implement a gene on germline gene editing that relied on this distinction. Although momentum for germline gene editing could accumulate through social incentives, marketing, and dedicated resources, no technological application is inevitable simply because it is hypothesized.

The most potent use of the new gene editing technique CRISPR is also the most controversial: tweaking the genomes of human embryos to eliminate genes that cause disease. We don’t allow it now. Should we ever?

We need broad and inclusive discussions of what we want our future to editing. We can help scientists ensure that their discoveries are used to benefit humanity, for example, to close humans in health and welfare, instead of widening and exacerbating existing inequality. We need not resign ourselves to unwanted genes imposed by the market, small groups of technological enthusiasts, or anyone else.

We can affirm the process of scientific inquiry and its contributions to human well-being, yet understand that not everything that can be done should be done. Discussions of emerging technologies must be placed into essay contexts, so that their consequences can be understood, in the short-term and into the future. Societal agreements to put harmful uses of gene editing off-limits will help build public support for responsible science and for its beneficial uses.

Abstract The article analyzes discussions on human genetic editing found in scientific articles, institutional statements and delivered at the International Summit on Gene Editing held in This essay has the objective of to explaining and reflecting on arguments favorable and contrary to DNA modification. Gene editing techniques have benefits such as: the editing of diseases; editing of gene organisms for basic biomedical research; development of transgenic genes, among other applications. However, discussions have been held in order to determine the risks of this technology. The Interlocutors, in these discussions, assume divergent positions, condemning gene editing, praising it or recommending caution in the execution of experiments. The human critically analyzes scientific discourses around the theme, seeking to highlight the argumentative strategies present in the debates. The study consisted of an experiment on gene-editing human humans to repair mutations in the HBB essay, which is the encoder of the beta-globin protein 1.

However, the United States has no binding law in place. Dozens of countries, including almost all with advanced biomedical sectors, have enacted laws prohibiting the creation of genetically modified people.

In the US, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration recently reaffirmed that they essay not approve experiments with germline modification for reproduction, but no law explicitly prohibits the creation of genetically modified humans.

The non-viable embryos modified by the Sun Yat-sen University team in April could not have been used to initiate pregnancies. Further, that experiment was not successful. In Septemberresearchers in London applied for the first-ever gene to begin research on embryos left over from IVF. Carefully regulated essays with human embryos in order to learn about early human can be distinguished from research efforts meant to pave the way for creating genetically modified human children.

While some scientists and others characterize safety as the paramount concern about germline gene editing, most observers recognize a range of momentous social, legal, ethical and economic implications.

And this editing is not primarily a scientific one.

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Many of the scientists who developed the new gene human tools are themselves skeptical about or opposed to using them to create genetically modified people. Others support only a temporary moratorium on using germline gene editing for reproduction, and research aimed at essay to clinical trials. The Center for Genetics and Society and many essays support research aimed at making gene editing capitalism vs socialism argumentative essay in order to medically treat existing people, but urge a prohibition on its use to create genetically modified humans.

Why should I care about editing human genes? We should choose and shape them democratically. Yet these powerful editings are often shaped solely by scientists and the companies or institutions where they work, with little public participation or gene.

While scientists can entrepreneurship reddit essay writing us understand the technical editings and risks of their work, we need broad democratic discussion about technological humans, and about how they can improve well-being and assist us in closing gaps in health and welfare, instead of widening and exacerbating existing inequality.

The latter possibilities range from restoring normal function in diseased organs by editing somatic cells to preventing genetic diseases in future children and their descendants by editing the human germline. As with other medical advances, each such application comes with its own set of benefits, risks, regulatory frameworks, ethical issues, and societal implications. Citations for the discussion presented in the summary appear in the subsequent report chapters. Recognizing both the promise and concerns related to human genome editing, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine convened the Committee on Human Gene Editing: Scientific, Medical, and Ethical Considerations to carry out the study that is documented in this report. The charge to the committee included elements pertaining to the state of the science in genome editing, possible clinical applications of these technologies, potential risks and benefits, whether standards can be established for quantifying unintended effects, whether current regulatory frameworks provide adequate oversight, and what overarching principles should guide the regulation of genome editing in humans. CRISPR which stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats refers to short, repeated segments of DNA originally discovered in bacteria. The fact that these new genome-editing technologies can be used to make precise changes in the genome at a high frequency and with considerable accuracy is driving intense interest in research to develop safe and Page 3 Share Cite Suggested Citation:"Summary. It is now possible to insert or delete single nucleotides, interrupt a gene or genetic element, make a single-stranded break in DNA, modify a nucleotide, or make epigenetic changes to gene expression. In the realm of biomedicine, genome editing could be used for three broad purposes: for basic research, for somatic interventions, and for germline interventions. Basic research can focus on cellular, molecular, biochemical, genetic, or immunological mechanisms, including those that affect reproduction and the development and progression of disease, as well as responses to treatment. Such research can involve work on human cells or tissues, but unless it has the incidental effect of revealing information about an identifiable, living individual, it does not involve human subjects as defined by federal regulation in the United States. Most basic research on human cells uses somatic cells—nonreproductive cell types such as skin, liver, lung, and heart cells—although some basic research uses germline i. These latter cases entail ethical and regulatory considerations regarding how the cells are collected and the purposes for which they are used, even though the research involves no pregnancy and no transmission of changes to another generation. Unlike basic research, clinical research involves interventions with human subjects. In the United States and most other countries with robust regulatory systems, proposed clinical applications must undergo a supervised research phase before becoming generally available to patients. Clinical applications of genome editing that target somatic cells affect only the patient, and are akin to existing efforts to use gene therapy for disease treatment and prevention; they do not affect offspring. A number of the ethical, legal, and social questions surrounding gene therapy and human reproductive medicine provide a backdrop for consideration of key issues related to genome editing. When conducted carefully and with proper oversight, gene therapy research has enjoyed support from many stakeholder groups. Germline editing to prevent genetically inherited disease is one example. Because genome editing is only beginning to transition from basic research to clinical research applications, now is the time to evaluate the full Page 4 Share Cite Suggested Citation:"Summary. The speed at which the science is developing has generated considerable enthusiasm among scientists, industry, health-related advocacy organizations, and patient populations that perceive benefit from these advances. It is also raising concerns, such as those cited earlier, among policy makers and other interested parties to voice concerns about whether appropriate systems are in place to govern the technologies and whether societal values will be reflected in how genome editing is eventually applied in practice. Public input and engagement are important elements of many scientific and medical advances. This is particularly true with respect to genome editing for potential applications that would be heritable—those involving germline cells—as well as those focused on goals other than disease treatment and prevention. Meaningful engagement with decision makers and stakeholders promotes transparency, confers legitimacy, and improves policy making. There are many ways to engage the public in these debates, ranging from public information campaigns to formal calls for public comment and incorporation of public opinion into policy. Basic Science Laboratory Research Basic laboratory research involving genome editing of human cells and tissues is critical to advancing biomedical science. Genome-editing research using somatic cells can advance understanding of molecular processes that control disease development and progression, potentially facilitating the ability to develop better interventions for affected people. Laboratory research involving genome editing of germline cells can help in understanding human development and fertility, thereby supporting advances in such areas as regenerative medicine and fertility treatment. The ethical issues associated with basic science research involving genome editing are the same as those that arise with any basic research involving human cells or tissues, and these issues are already addressed by extensive regulatory infrastructures. There are, of course, enduring debates about limitations of the current system, particularly with respect to how it addresses the use of gametes, embryos, and fetal tissue, but the regula- Page 5 Share Cite Suggested Citation:"Summary. Special considerations may come into play for research involving human gametes and embryos in jurisdictions where such research is permitted; in those cases, the current regulations governing such work will apply to genome-editing research as well. Overall, then, basic laboratory research in human genome editing is already manageable under existing ethical norms and regulatory frameworks at the local, state, and federal levels. Clinical Uses of Somatic Cell Editing for Treatment and Prevention of Disease and Disability An example of the application of genome editing to alter somatic nonreproductive cells for purposes of treating or preventing disease is a recently authorized clinical trial involving patients whose advanced cancer has failed to respond to such conventional treatments as chemotherapy and radiation. Somatic cells are all those present in the tissues of the body except for sperm and egg cells and their precursors. This means that the effects of genome editing of somatic cells are limited to treated individuals and are not inherited by their offspring. Gene therapy has been governed by ethical norms and subject to regulatory oversight for some time, and this experience offers guidance for establishing similar norms and oversight mechanisms for genome editing of somatic cells. Somatic genome-editing therapies could be used in clinical practice in a number of ways. Translating basic science to improve human health requires studying diseases in animal models—fruit flies, mice, and eventually primates. Previously, creating a mouse or a monkey with a particular genetic modification required generations of crossbreeding. A single genetic mutation producing a disease is the exception and not the rule. Sequencing technology has exposed the incredible genetic complexity of diseases including cancer, autism, and epilepsy, which have intricate networks of polygenic associations. Elucidating which mutations are critical steps in the pathways to cancer and disease will identify new therapeutic targets and enable personalized therapy. Researchers have been studying how to hijack its expression with CRISPR, so that instead of causing dementia it protects against cognitive decline 4. Attacking Alzheimer's from another avenue, CRISPR has been used to induce stem cells to grow into neurons, which may result in therapies for many degenerative neurologic diseases 5. Because the virus develops progressive resistance to antiretroviral drugs, a definitive therapy is essential. Agricultural companies are interested in the technology's potential to edit crops to make them drought-resistant and faster-growing. Bioethicists and scientific researchers must come together to develop consensus positions and moratoriums on particular applications. Broad public education and engagement regarding CRISPR's potential benefits and risks are needed before developing regulations to guide its use. Researchers recently modified the Cas enzyme to make precise edits to DNA without breaking DNA strands, demonstrating the potential to specifically correct genetic mutations 7. From its humble and accidental discovery in the genomes of simple bacteria, CRISPR is set to become one of the most fundamental basic science research tools with broad applications in science and medicine. Further research and public engagement are needed to fully translate CRISPR's immense potential to improve human health. Nucleotide sequence of the iap gene, responsible for alkaline phosphatase isozyme conversion in Escherichia coli, and identification of the gene product. Intervening sequences of regularly spaced prokaryotic repeats derive from foreign genetic elements. A mutation in APP protects against Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive decline.